Update: March 14th
The Hamas-led Interior Ministry in Gaza released the results of its investigation into the deaths of the three fishermen off the coast of Gaza near Khan Younis. The Ministry collected evidence, and based their investigation on three possibilities:
- That the boat was hit by a misfire from resistance fighters in training
- That the Israeli navy targeted and fired at the boat
- That the boat struck an unexploded mine in the water
The investigators went to the training site of the al-Qassam Brigades and checked the surveillance video and the distance range of each of the rockets there. Knowing the range of the rockets, and checking forensic and video evidence, the investigators ruled out this possibility.
By collecting testimonies from the fishermen and the Palestinian naval police, and by collecting recordings from surveillance cameras, it became clear that the Israeli navy did not fire missiles at the boats.
The investigation committee concluded that this explosion was tied to a previous incident, which took place on February 22nd in Khan Younis sea, near the location where the explosion took place in the boat.
During this incident, the Israeli Navy used Quad Cpter drones to drop floating bombs in the sea. These bombs carry powerful explosives, and are like ‘landmines’ on the sea in that the impact is usually on innocents.
After collecting all evidence from the explosion site in the sea, and after receiving into custody the destroyed boat and nets, the investigators concluded:
- Nearly 30 minutes before the explosion took place, two fishermen found an Israeli quad copter drone stuck in their nets near the location of the explosion. They managed to remove it and give it to the Palestinian naval police.
- The remains of another quad copter drone was found stuck in the nets of the three slain fishermen, after the divers collected the wreckage.
- The investigators found the backside of the boat and other parts of the boat, and concluded that the explosion took place under the right side of the boat.
- By comparing the quad copter that was found by the fishermen to the remains of the quad copter found in the wreckage of the exploded boat, the two were of similar make.
- Forensics experts found that the fishermen were killed by the explosive shock and shrapnel was not found in their bodies.
- Following all of the evidence, the investigators concluded that Israel is fully responsible for the deaths of the three fishermen on March 7th in Khan Younis Sea.
The Ministry called on national, international, legal and human rights groups to take a stand and call for an end to Israel’s continued violations against the Palestinian people and their humanity.
Update: Mar 7, 2021 21:45The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, said it launched an investigation into the incident and vowed to reveal the outcome to the public soon.
In a brief statement, the brigades said the Palestinian security forces of the Interior Ministry are part of this investigation.
“We express our sincere condolences to the families of Mohammad Hijazi Saleh Lahham, Zakariya Hijazi Saleh Lahham, and Yahia Mustafa Saleh Lahham,” the brigades said, “We will investigate this painful incident and will reveal the whole truth as soon as possible.”
Three Palestinian Fishermen Killed In Khan Younis
Mar 7, 2021, at 12:54
The Palestinian Fishermen Syndicate has reported that three fishermen were killed, and one was seriously injured, near Khan Younis in the southern part of the besieged Gaza Strip, due to an explosion in their boat. The Israeli army said it has nothing to do with the incident.
The Syndicate’s Secretary Nizar Ayyash said the fishermen were apparently killed due to a shell that struck their boat, and added that one fisherman was seriously injured, the Watar Broadcast Network has reported.
Medical sources said the three fishermen have been identified as Mohammad Hijazi Lahham, 27, his brother Zakariya Hijazi Lahham, 24, and their cousin Yahia Mustafa Lahham, 29, . One other fisherman from the same family was seriously injured in the incident.
The Al-Aqsa Radio in Gaza said a shell struck the boat, killing the three fishermen and wounding another.
On its part, the government-run Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) responded to an inquiry by the IMEMC and stated that the fishermen’s death was a result of an explosion caused by a homemade shell that accidentally struck their boat.
The explosion occurred not long after the Israeli navy attacked fishing boats with live fire and water cannons.
The Interior Ministry in Gaza said it initiated an investigation into the incident.
In a statement issued by the Israeli army on its official Twitter account, the spokesperson denied any relation to the incident, and added: “our indications show that their deaths were caused by an explosion inside Gaza.”
Also Sunday, the soldiers stationed on military towers and in armored vehicles across the perimeter fence, fired many live rounds at Palestinian farmers and shepherds, east of Khan Younis.
The farmers and the shepherds had to leave their lands in fear of further Israeli military violations.